Growing up in the Atlanta area, Nicole Jones attended Pebblebrook High School’s performing arts program, but after graduation, her concentration in the arts took on a more visual nature. Jones enrolled at Bauder College and earned a degree in fashion merchandising, also learning design skills as part of her studies.
“I always had an affinity for fashion,” she says. After working with Polo Ralph Lauren, Jones combined the skills she gained at Bauder with her natural inclinations to cofound a jewelry company and has more recently begun concepting a hat line, which she plans to expand into a larger accessories line in the near future.
But it started with the jewelry. With business partner Chantel Watkins, Jones launched Honesty Jewelry in 2009, and thanks to the vast range of contacts each had – Watkins worked in the music industry – the duo was able to get their designs worn by celebrities, which proved to be a recipe for success. They made everything by hand, and in Honesty’s heyday, the brand could be found in 60 stores and was also sold online.
It wasn’t just local boutiques that wanted to carry the Honesty line; shops throughout the country couldn’t get enough of the handcrafted items. Jones recalls customers waiting outside the door before an Honesty event at Sanctuary Boutique in Staten Island, New York.
Honesty Jewelry has evolved and under the name Nicole Jones for Honesty, she plans to branch out more extensively into accessories, beginning with hats.
She’s interested in fashion hats in materials like wool and felt with touches of rabbit, straw, denim and even camouflage. Jones envisions fedora-style and Panama hats that are funky and fashionable, but there won’t be any ball caps. In addition to selling the hats online, she will return to some of the boutiques that had carried the jewelry line. She will be debuting her new line of luxury hats the weekend before the Super Bowl in the ATL.
“We always wanted to have a full accessories line,” she says. “The next thing I want to explore is clutches.” In fact, she’s such a fan of keeping small bags inside a big bag that friends often tease her about the many “kits” she carries.
This sense of organization has reached its full expression in Jones’ closet, which she created with Peggy Snider-Houghton of Bell Cabinetry & Design. A favorite area of Jones’ new Suwanee home, the spacious closet features white cabinets and light gray hardwood floors and has a dressing area as well as a makeup station with a Hollywood mirror. Jones appreciates that everything sits inside the closet so that in a rush, items can be left out without cluttering the living space.
“Everything is behind doors, so there’s nothing that’s out,” she says. “I wanted it to look really clean all the time. I have a room that is specifically for shoes and bags, and the front room is all clothes.” Specialty aspects include a luggage room, drawers for sunglasses and jewelry, a piece that holds scarves and space to hang lingerie. There is also plenty of room for Jones’ swimsuits – she has five or six drawers of them, a predilection developed in the days when she modeled swimwear.
When exiting her closet, this fashion expert can be seen stepping out in clothing picked up in favorite shopping cities like Los Angeles, New York and Miami. And she’s taken note of the trend that has welcomed high-end collaborations between luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Supreme.